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Published December 09 2012

North Dakota doubles up Denver in men's hockey

GRAND FORKS – Rocco Grimaldi blamed himself for the University of North Dakota’s 2-2 men’s hockey tie on Friday night, saying his inability to capitalize on a scoring chance cost his team a point in the standings.

On Saturday night, Grimaldi decided to leave no doubt.

The electrifying freshman scored one goal and added three assists for a four-point night as UND beat Denver 6-3 in Ralph Engelstad Arena to grab three points from the league’s first-place team. Grimaldi set up Carter Rowney, who also had a four-point night, for two of those goals and launched eight shots at Denver goaltender Sam Brittain.

“I was pretty upset with myself yesterday,” said Grimaldi, who has 10 points in 10 Western Collegiate Hockey Association games. “I thought if I would have put that in, we would have won. I had a couple of chances I didn’t bury. (Saturday), in the first period, I had a breakaway, and I don’t know what I was thinking. It was a terrible move.”

UND improved to 8-5-3 overall and 5-2-3 in WCHA play. Denver, meanwhile, dropped to 9-5-2 and 7-3-2. After a blistering 9-1 start, the Pioneers are winless in six straight games – their longest winless stretch since the 1999-2000 season.

Danny Kristo, Derek Forbort and Corban Knight also scored goals, while Drake Caggiula and Dillon Simpson had two-assist games for UND, which will travel to Michigan Tech next weekend in its last series before the Christmas break.

“I thought we played a pretty solid series this weekend,” Grimaldi said. “We didn’t get the full result we wanted, but we got a pretty good piece of the pie. We’re looking to go to Tech next weekend and get four points.”

After getting outshot in seven straight games UND has now outshot its opponent in the last four games by at least 10 shots.

“I think we’ve played good hockey over the last four games,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “I probably don’t put quite as much stock in pure shots on goal as maybe some others.”

Denver got off to a great start when Grant Arnold picked off a pass and snapped a shot past Clarke Saunders 1 minute, 25 seconds into the game. But UND scored the next four goals.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, D, Arnold, 1:25. 2, UND, Grimaldi (Caqqiula, Rowney), 17:10.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, UND, Forbort (Grimaldi, Rowney), 5:57, (pp). 4, UND, Rowney (Grimaldi, Gleason), 7:21, (sh). 5, UND, Rowney (Grimaldi, Caqqiula), 15:29. 6, D, Loney, 16:17, (pp). 7, D, LaLeggia (Zajac, Knowlton), 16:34, (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 8, Kristo (Knight, Gleason), 16:53. 9, Knight (MacMillan), 19:00.

SAVES: D, Brittain 8-11-8 27. UND, Saunders 5-7-8 20.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald